Abengoa Plant Buyers Found


By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Two Nebraska ethanol companies have made offers for four of Abengoa Bioenergy's seven ethanol plants, including two plants in Nebraska, one in Illinois and one in Indiana, according to a court motion filed Sunday.

The U.S. holding company of Abengoa will auction off the company's ethanol plants this summer and has chosen stalking-horse bidders to make the first bid on the plants in Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and New Mexico.

A stalking horse bidder is an initial bid on a company's assets chosen by the bankrupt company from a pool of bidders, and essentially sets a baseline price for the assets. Parent company Spain-based Abengoa SA has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while it reorganizes its company for life after ethanol production.

According to a court motion filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis, the company has entered into asset purchase agreements with two Nebraska ethanol companies and an acquisition company based in Texas.

Although stalking horse bidders have been selected, the company's motion is to hold an auction later this summer to entertain other bids on the plants.

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. made a $200 million stalking horse bid offer for the plants in Madison, Illinois, and Mount Vernon, Indiana, according to the court motion.

Minden, Nebraska-based KAAPA Ethanol Holdings LLC made a $115 million offer for the Ravenna, Nebraska, plant. In addition, BioUrja Trading, LLC, in Houston was selected as the stalking horse bidder for the plant in York, Nebraska, for at least $45 million.

Abengoa's shuttered cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, first-generation ethanol plants in Colwich, Kansas, and Portales, New Mexico, are not included in any of the purchase agreements, according to court documents.

The Nebraska plants have restarted production in the past couple of months and have reached near-full capacity. Those plants are expected to generate about $26.2 million in revenue in May, according to court documents, and are the only Abengoa plants in operation in the U.S.

According to the court motion, bids for the plants would be due by Aug. 18 with the auction set for Aug. 22. A sale hearing would be scheduled for Aug. 25. The closing on the sales would be no later than Sept. 30.

Green Plains owns and operates 14 plants, four grain companies and a feedlot. KAAPA owns and operates a 60-million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Minden, Nebraska. BioUrja Trading, LLC, is a Houston-based energy commodities trading company.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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